Tag Archive | "Attitude"

Is Lance Lynn Out Of Line?

The St. Louis Cardinals opened camp on Tuesday morning with the traditional pitchers and catchers workouts.  It did not take long for the first quote to fire up the fan base to come out.

LanceLynn4

Lance Lynn has arrived at camp looking fit having dropped a reported 40 pounds.  He has successfully avoided using the phrase “best shape of my life”, is on the heels of an 18 win season, and addressed the one thing that critics had for him last year by improving his offseason diet to hopefully address the fatigue that set in at the end of 2013.  In the midst of losing starter Chris Carpenter and the buzz around three young rookies hoping for a rotation spot, Lynn is a bright spot in early camp.

Then, on Tuesday morning during a media scrum, a quote came flying out from Lance Lynn.  It may or may not be “out of context”, but it seemed to fire up the fanbase pretty quickly.  Via Twitter, beat writer Jenifer Langosch shared Lynn’s thoughts on the rotation competition this spring:

Lynn on rotation competition: "I was an 18-game winner last yr w/ an All-Star appearance. I have to do a lot of things to lose a spot, IMO."
@LangoschMLB
Jenifer Langosch

It is easy to see how that could rub some fans wrong.  That is not the way players tend to act around St. Louis.  Players that have been in the league for years, won multiple awards, and are solidified in their positions for years to come say “I’m here competing for my spot on the team”.  It shows a cockiness and brash attitude that this team, and it’s fans, are not accustomed to hearing.

The question here is: was it really wrong to say?

He is right, isn’t he?  I would say, due to the news of Chris Carpenter’s injury, that Lynn’s spot in the rotation is his to lose and in order to lose it, he would have to collapse pretty hard this spring.  His season last year was impressive, especially considering the second half issues he ran into.  The work he has already put in to attempt to fix that part of his game deserves accolades.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch ran an article on Tuesday as well, discussing Lynn with his manager.  Matheny had high praise for his starter and his offseason work.  The manager also had this to say about early perceptions that Lynn was not guaranteed a spot in the rotation this year:

“I know (that) made Lance a little frustrated,” said Matheny “I told him, ‘We want you coming in competing for a spot. We don’t want you rolling in thinking this is yours.’”

It is not easy to say if there is a right or wrong here.  Some will say “Carp would have never said anything like this.”  Others will point out that Lance Berkman was a breath of fresh air and would tend to be brutally honest with the media and the fans.  It is easy to see that type of quote being attributed to Berkman and fans would have applauded his honesty.  So why the outrage that Lynn is doing so?  Is it because of his age?

I freely admit that my immediate reaction was negative.  I don’t like it.  I don’t want a young player who, in my mind, still has some things to prove to sound so cocky.  I want him to talk about working hard to prove that last year was not a fluke.  I also admit that this is a personal preference.  Personally, I don’t like what Lynn said.  However, I also don’t feel what he said was incorrect.

The basic thought is there: an All Star pitcher made a statement that most of us were already thinking.

Is there anything really wrong with that?

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Going To WAR On The Trades Of The GMDM Era- Part 4: 2009

In part 4 of this multi-part series, we take a look at the trades of the Dayton Moore administration that were made in 2009 for the Kansas City Royals.

Click the years to see the previous articles:

2006
2007
2008 

As we move on to 2009 and beyond, it is important to note that the data begins to become a little less reliable.  The reason being that there are fewer years on which to judge a player.  If the Royals traded an established major leaguer for a good prospect that has yet to break into the major leagues, based on the formula we use, the Royals may not get any credit for the trade.  But overall, it should even out both ways, especially when we combine the WAR scores for all of the years at the end.

As was illustrated in last week’s column, 2008 was a bad year for Dayton in terms of trades.  Injuries were to blame for part of this, as was plain bad luck.  Even so, by 21st century Royals standards, 2008 was not that bad of a season.  For one, they didn’t finish in last place.  Finishing 75-87, it was the Royals best season since the fluky “smoke and mirrors” 2003 season.  With Zack Greinke ready to take the leap into superstardom and an elite closer in Soria, there was some positive momentum going into 2009.  On top of this, right after the 2008 season, the Royals dealt for speedy centerfielder, Coco Crisp, and slugging 1B Mike Jacobs.  There was definitely an attitude amongst Royals people that they would have an opportunity to compete for the division in 2009.  So let’s see how Dayton fared in his trades in that year…

April 1, 2009: The Kansas City Royals traded Ross Gload and cash to the Florida Marlins for a player to be named later. The Florida Marlins sent Eric Basurto (minors) (May 13, 2009) to the Kansas City Royals to complete the trade.

A journeyman bench player, Gload spent 2 pretty meaningless years with the Royals, so seeing him get dealt was neither a blow nor a surprise.  One might have thought the Royals could have gotten more than a 40th round pick in Eric Basurto, but apparently not.  Basurto, to his credit, is still playing baseball in the Royals organization and spent last season in Double A Northwest Arkansas.  He likely has little to no upside, so this trade was pretty meaningless.

Gload: 1.3 WAR with Marlins (2009)

Basurto: 0.0 WAR (has yet to appear for Royals)

Marlins win trade by 1.3 WAR

July 10, 2009: The Kansas City Royals traded Derrick Saito (minors) and Dan Cortes to the Seattle Mariners for Yuniesky Betancourt.

The critics came out of the woodwork for this one.  At the time, the Royals needed a shortstop in a bad way.  After Mike Aviles was injured early in the season, they were left with a combination of Willie Bloomquist and Tony Pena Jr.   Many would make the argument that by making this trade the Royals worsened their shortstop situation.  And the numbers would support that.  Not only was Betancourt carrying a relatively hefty contract, but he absolutely positively sucked.  In 2009, he was far worse than replacement level. Rumor has it Seattle fans were laughing when the Royals traded for Betancourt.  In his defense though, he was much better in 2010 than in 2009, even leading the team in home runs that year.

Saito: 0.0 WAR (never appeared for Mariners and appears to be out of baseball)

Cortes: -0.1 WAR with Mariners (2010-2011)

Betancourt: 0.0 WAR with Royals (1/2 of 2009 and 2010)

Royals win trade by 0.1 WAR

September 3, 2009: The Texas Rangers traded Tim Smith (minors) and Manny Pina to the Kansas City Royals for Danny Gutierrez (minors).

This is one of those trades that cannot be fairly judged using the WAR statistic.  The Rangers have absolutely nothing to show for this trade, while the Royals have likely their backup catcher of the future in Pina, along with Smith who is still in the organization.  But the advantage is only 0.1 WAR so the impact is minimal for the purpose of this study.  Despite what the #’s below say, this trade was a big win for Dayton and company.

Gutierrez: 0.0 WAR (never appeared for Rangers and appears to be out of baseball)

Smith: 0.0 WAR (has yet to appear for Royals-played last season in Double A Northwest Arkansas)

Pina: -0.1 WAR with Royals (2011)

Rangers win trade by 0.1 WAR

November 6, 2009: The Chicago White Sox traded Josh Fields and Chris Getz to the Kansas City Royals for Mark Teahen.

This one is interesting.  When it was first made, it looked kind of good.  Teahen’s production had begun to tail off signifcantly in Kansas City.  Many believed that it was because he had gotten himself so mentally screwed up by the constant changing of positions.  This may have been true.  So the White Sox acquired him and signed him to a multi-year deal to make him their everyday 3rd baseman.  The Royals were picking up their new everyday 2nd baseman in the speedy Chris Getz, and Josh Fields, a 3b/OF who had hit 23 HR as a rookie in 100 games in 2007.  Fields quickly did nothing in KC, and Getz proved himself to be nothing more than a steady defensive 2B with some speed and no power.  And when I say no power, I mean NO power.  In 2 years with the Royals, Getz has a total of 18 extra base hits.  His 3 home runs in 2009 with the White Sox is starting to look VERY suspicious.  Teahen  picked up right where he left off with the Royals, and eventually continued to regress.  He was eventually sent off to Toronto in the middle of last year, and is currently without a team.  So this trade, which at the time was a very important one for the Royals, turned out to be pretty meaningless for both teams involved.

Teahen: -1.2 WAR with White Sox (2010 and 1/2 of 2011)

Fields: -0.1 WAR with Royals (2010)

Getz: 0.6 WAR with Royals (2010-2011)

Royals win trade by 0.7 WAR

Based on the study, the Royals lost by 0.6 WAR on 2009 trades.  The good news though, is they gave up very little.  Perhaps Dayton was scared off by what happened in 2008, or perhaps he learned from it.  One might argue that they missed an opportunity to get more for Teahen, but at least they weren’t burned by it.  They added Pina, who while maybe not a huge part of the future, is a part of the future nonetheless.  Getz is still with the ballclub, though his role for this coming season is in question.  Next week, we take a look at Dayton’s 2010 trades.

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Rasmus Back In Missouri

The news broke late Monday night over at MLB Trade Rumors that former Cardinal centerfielder, Colby Rasmus, may end up wearing powder blue on the other side of the state in 2012.

Rasmus was the center piece in the Cardinals trade deadline deal that brought pitching and bench help to St. Louis during the stretch run. An outfielder with huge potential, Rasmus had been highly touted as a can’t miss player in St. Louis for many years. When he arrived in St. Louis, however, he would struggle under manager Tony LaRussa.

LaRussa, known for his tinkering and adjusting, limited Rasmus in duty against left handed pitchers early on in his career. Colby was no saint in the situation, demanding to be traded not once but twice, and refusing the help of team coaches in an apparent desire to follow the teaching of his father. Colby’s performance and attitude soured and after a year long battle behind the scenes with management, he was shipped off to Toronto.

An already tough season would see the wheels fall off when Colby arrived north of the border. The outfielder struggled in the new system and performed horribly down the stretch. A look at Colby’s career numbers:

Year Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2009 STL 147 474 72 119 22 2 16 52 3 36 95 .251 .307 .407 .714
2010 STL 144 464 85 128 28 3 23 66 12 63 148 .276 .361 .498 .859
2011 TOT 129 471 75 106 24 6 14 53 5 50 116 .225 .298 .391 .688
2011 STL 94 338 61 83 14 6 11 40 5 45 77 .246 .332 .420 .753
2011 TOR 35 133 14 23 10 0 3 13 0 5 39 .173 .201 .316 .517
3 Seasons 420 1409 232 353 74 11 53 171 20 149 359 .251 .322 .432 .754
162 Game Avg. 162 543 89 136 29 4 20 66 8 57 138 .251 .322 .432 .754
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/29/2011.

Colby’s drop off in 2011 makes him a gamble in 2012. That being said, very few people feel that 2011 was the true Colby Rasmus. He is young (25 years old) and still has a big chance to grow. He is a proven commodity at the major league level and can provide some pop.

The National Post reported in September that Rasmus seemed a bit out of sorts. When asked about his timing at the plate, the article read this way:

Yet when asked about the focus of his daily drills, Rasmus replied: “I’m not working on anything right now.”

He said he is eager for the season to end, for the pressure of high expectations to fade, for a few months away from baseball to dissolve the bitter taste of his final days in St. Louis.

“I still got a lot of stuff going on through my head from being over in St. Louis,” Rasmus said before the Jays’ final home game Thursday night.

In addition, in that same article, it did not appear that Colby was open to the coaching being offered to him:

“I feel like I’ve played the outfield pretty good but my hitting’s been terrible,” he said. “But I wasn’t hitting good before I got here, so I didn’t really put too much expectation on myself to do good.”

The interview took place shortly after manager John Farrell said the Jays want Rasmus to stop trying to pull the ball on every swing. He needs to use the whole field and refine the timing of his leg kick, which serves as the trigger for his swing, Farrell said.

Even after a reporter told him what Farrell had said, Rasmus insisted he was “not working on anything.”

“I’m just going out there and hitting. Trying not to think too much. That’s where I got in trouble in the beginning.”

After joining the Jays, he said he tried “to fix too much stuff in the middle of the season, which is not a good idea. So I’m just going out there and playing and just riding it out, and then work on it in the off-season.”

The concern for me is his attitude. I have been a big supporter of Jeff Francoeur on this team due to his leadership qualities with the younger ballplayers. He has shown solid veteran leadership and fits in well to the grand scheme of the team growing in maturity and competing in the near future. Colby can be a strong part of that nucleus, but if he continues to buck against the system and his coaches, he could quickly become a clubhouse cancer.

With the recent additions of Jonathan Broxton and Jonathan Sanchez, the Royals are showing they are willing to take a bit of a risk on a high potential return. They seem to be making solid moves towards the future. Colby has the potential to be a part of a very strong future in Kansas City. He also has the potential to shake the foundation of the franchise from within.

It will be up to Dayton Moore to decide which side of the argument he feels has the greater potential.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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